Which is the Best Tile Floor Cleaner?
When cleaning tile you have three options: a vacuum, a steam mop or a tile surface cleaner.
Here are the top choices in those three categories:
Best Hard Floor Vacuum – Shark Navigator Lift-Away
Best Mop for Tile Floors – Shark Genius Pocket System
Best Tile Cleaning Machine – Bissell Crosswave Pet Pro
Read on to discover which is the best type of floor cleaning machine for your home and reviews of the three top picks and several other runners-up.
Updated 2022 (January)
While cleaning tile floors is still a chore most of us could live without, the evolution of floor care tools has made it easier and more effective than ever. In general terms, cleaning a tile floor involves two processes: getting rid of the surface debris and then scrubbing the remaining dirt.
In this article we’re going to look what you need to accomplish those tasks and review the best tools for those jobs, namely the best vacuums, steam mops and hard floor surface cleaners suitable for tile floors. To jump straight to our vacuum and steam mop reviews, click here.
For more specific tips on stone and tile floor care and maintenance click here and be sure to check out this guide for the best way to clean tile floors, depending on material and type of dirt/ stain.
What is the Best Tile Floor Cleaning Machine for Your Home
This overview of tile floor vacuums and mops will assist you in selecting the best type for your cleaning routine. Below, you’ll find vacuum and steam mop reviews of the top products in each category.
Vacuums for tile floors
Removing loose debris before mopping means you won’t be collecting dirt in your mop – essential since dirt that gets stuck in a mop can act like an abrasive that scratches the flooring, and vacuuming first means you won’t need to change mop water more often. If you’ve ever spread dirt around a floor you’re trying to clean you know how frustrating that can be.
Of course you can go old-school and just use a regular broom to sweep debris off your tiled floor, but a vacuum cleaner is always going to be superior at dealing with both fine dust and larger debris particles. You’ve got two primary options for tile floor vacuums:
A multi-function vacuum: An all-purpose vacuum is the best and most cost-effective machine if you’ve got both carpet and tiles in your home.
The upside is better value and the need for just one tool in the closet.
The downside is that you must remember to turn off the rotating brush (aka brushroll or beater bar) before using it on hard surfaces to prevent scattering dirt before it can be vacuumed up and, worse, damaging your flooring. If the brush rotation cannot be turned off, the vacuum is not an option for tile or any other hard floor types. Also, if you choose a multi-function vacuum, select one with soft or coated wheels to prevent them from scratching your floors.
A hard/tile floor vacuum: All the top manufacturers make vacuums designed just for hard surfaces. They are lightweight for easy use, and they don’t include a roller brush that might damage your flooring.
The obvious disadvantage is that they are not effective on carpet.
Below you will see our top choices for a tile floor vacuum but you may also be interested in our reviews of the best upright vacuums currently on the market and click here for more on using vacuums on hardwood floors.
Steam mops for tile floors
If you’ve got a method you are happy with for removing the loose debris and want a machine that will replace your mop and bucket, this is your best option.
Most of these machines feature a water tank, heating element, replaceable pad to do the mopping and adjustable steam setting based on your cleaning needs. For most of these types of floor care tools, a tank of water lasts 15 to 20 minutes based on the steam setting.
Steam mop advantages include no hassles with water buckets and the ability to both clean and sanitize floors. Be aware that most steam mops are designed to work with just water, and in fact adding any kind of detergent could cause damage or corrosion.
The other thing to consider is that whilst you can use regular tap water in your steam mop, manufacturers often recommend using distilled or demineralized water in steam floor cleaners in order to prevent the build up of mineral deposits that can harm performance and shorten the tool’s life.
So, if you live in an area with extremely hard water, and don’t have the means or desire to get distilled or dematerialized water, then you’ll need to factor in regular descaling and cleaning of your steam mop.
Also, remember that the floor should be free of loose debris before using a steam mop. If the broom pad picks up excessive dirt or a small pebble, for example, the debris might very well scratch the tile and dull its finish.
Below we review our top two steam mops for tile floors, but you can also read our reviews of several other steam mops by clicking here.
Hard surface cleaners for tile floors
The machines in this category offer these options:
- A simple hard surface cleaner machine that effectively scrubs the tile floor (effectively, an alternative to a steam mop)
- A two-in-one tool for both vacuuming and washing the tile floor (aka the wet-dry vacuum mop)
- Machines that will clean and buff tile flooring
The better two-in-one wet dry vacuum mop essentially work this way: they simultaneously vacuum the floor to get rid of debris whilst washing the floor with gentle scrubbing heads safe for tile floors and then suctioning the dirty water away to leave floors dry or nearly dry.
The obvious advantage to using a vacuum mop is that you get both functions in one tool. Separate tanks for clean and dirty water mean you’re always applying clean water to the floor.
Disadvantages of wet dry vacuum mops include the fact that they are heavier than single-function tools. Some users complain of leaking tanks or cheap wheels that scratch floors. Water is the enemy of poorly sealed tile grout, so be sure that you towel-dry any water not picked up by the vacuum.
As with steam mops, only use cleaner formulated for the type of floor you have. Distilled water is highly recommended over tap water, especially hard water, for the machine’s long-term performance.
Also, these types of wet dry vacuum mops are really mainly designed to vacuum light debris – this is a tool for dealing with everyday spills and dirt, and not suitable if you’re looking to attack your floor cleaning chore just once a week.
Finally, if you want to get a full pro finish on your tile floors, then investing in an orbital cleaner is the way to go. This type of machine is designed to buff, clean and scrub virtually any hard flooring material to within an inch of their lives!
The most powerful ones can even loosen dirt from commercial carpeting, though you’re unlikely to have any of that in your home. And you can also use an orbital cleaner to strip wax and sand your floors depending on which pad to attach to its base.
Note that the different functions of an orbital cleaner are dependent on changing the base pad; for buffing and polishing this tool is to be used after a general vacuum; and for the scrubbing action you’ll need to spray tour tile floor first with a detergent cleaner and then mop the floor clean afterwards.
Tile Flooring Cleaning Machine Reviews
Now that we’ve covered your options, let’s take a look at the top tile cleaning machines in each of the categories.
BEST VACUUM CLEANERS FOR TILE FLOOR
Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional Upright Vacuum Review
The Shark Navigator Lift-Away NV356E is our favorite multi-function vacuum designed for carpet and hard flooring including tile. It gets high scores for being lightweight while having a large-capacity debris canister. The top features of the Shark Navigator vacuum include:
- Removable, portable canister that is easy to empty
- Life away canister makes it easy to vacuum stairs and reach overhead
- Continuous suction technology for more complete cleaning
- Reliable dust-containment seal around the canister keeps allergens from escaping
- Swivel steering for tighter turns and maneuverability around furniture without skidding wheels across hard flooring
- Roller brush with toggle switch for activating and deactivating
- Available with standard and premium brush options
- Disposable dual microfiber attachment pads for dusting hard surfaces
- HEPA small-particle filtration of 99.9 percent of allergens for cleaner exhaust air
- Excellent reach with a 30-foot power cord
This multi-surface vacuum weighs 14lbs. It retails between $200 – $250, and it is backed by a one-year limited warranty against manufacturer defect with typical residential usage. There are better warranties available on other units.
A concern for some, especially those with allergies, is that the canister is bagless. Taking it outdoors for emptying will prevent dust and dirt from being reintroduced into your living space.
Eureka Lightweight Stick Vacuum Cleaner with Filter Review
This little cutie of a vacuum cleaner is one of the lightest on the market – weighing less than 5 pounds – and one of the cheapest, at around $40 for the aqua blue model (it also comes in red). The Eureka Stick Vacuum Cleaner is quite powerful and nicely ergonomic, but we would recommend it particularly for households that do very regular light vacuuming (like every other day) rather than have it as your main vacuum for a busy household that needs something more robust. Other useful features are:
- Can be converted from stick to handheld vacuum
- Can be used on carpets, rugs and hard floors.
- Decent suction for everyday cleaning.
- Comes with washable dirt cup and filters.
- Removable bagless dirt cup for easy emptying and cleaning.
- Free standing, so easy to store.
Note that this vacuum is NOT cordless, so you will need to plug it in. It does come with a 15 feet cord, so you may find that you’re not able to do your whole home without having to switch sockets. The biggest downside is that it is marketed as being able to tackle pet hair, but it’s not robust enough if you have lots of pets or pets who shed a lot!
Shark Rocket Pet Pro with Self-Cleaning Brushroll Cordless Vacuum Review
With a price ranging from $275 to $299 for a brand new one, the Shark Rocket Pro with Self-Cleaning Brushroll Cordless Vacuum is not one of the cheapest on the market, but is one of the best performing, especially if you have pets. Thanks to its innovative self-cleaning brushroll, pet (and human) hair is constantly and consistently removed into the dirt cup rather than clogging up to roller. This is a game-changer if you happen to have a Golden Retriever! Other great features of this vacuum are:
- Fairly light weight at 7.5 lbs.
- Up to 40 minutes run time when fully charged
- Removable battery so that you can charge it in or out of the unit
- Extremely powerful suction – ideal for carpets and pet hair
- Self-cleaning brushroll (see above)
- Fitted with HEPA filters that traps dust, dander and allergens inside the vacuum
- Can be used on both carpet and hard flooring
- Detachable hand-held option for upholstery and car cleaning
- Easy to empty the dirt cup
There is no doubt that this is a very good vacuum, but there is one quite major downside which just might make you think twice: unlike other Shark vacuums, this Shark Rocket Pet Pros does not come with a wall mount: it is supposed to be free-standing, but it can a bit a bit finickity to quickly store it away when you’re done (especially if you have slippery ceramic tiled flooring!).
This vacuum cleaner is often featured in discount deals and can retail for anything between $190 – $299.
BEST STEAM MOPS FOR TILE FLOOR
Shark Genius Pocket System S5003D
If you’ve got a great machine for removing loose dirt, debris and pet hair from floors and want a tool to clean hard surfaces, we strongly recommend the Shark Genius Pocket System S5003D. The best thing about this steam mop is that you can regulate its cleaning action with three steam settings plus there’s an extra blast of power on the Steam Blaster feature, for very stuck on dirt and stains. Here are the full Shark Genius Pocket System features:
- 3 electronic steam levels, each labeled for floor types
- Sanitizing heat option
- 2 washable pads
- Channel design that sends steam to the entire cleaning surface
- Steam Blaster that can be directed at stuck-on dirt
- Fully swiveling “Genius” mop head cleans in any direction
- Ergonomic round handle
- Attach and remove the washable Dirt Grip pads without touching them
- 22ft cord is longer than most
- 350ml water capacity is about slightly below average for steam mops
- 1-year warranty
This steam mop usually costs $119.99, though we’ve seen it on offer for just over $100. It’s more expensive than the Bissell steam mop but we feel it performs better overall.
The only negative is that there isn’t a proper On/Off switch, so it goes directly to Standby mode when plugged in; you have to actively unplug it to turn it fully off (and to save energy).
Bissell 1940 Powerfresh Steam Mop Review
The Bissell Powerfresh is the other steam mop we recommend, and it regularly appears as the top choice on Amazon and most steam mop reviews. The steam both loosens stuck-on dirt and sanitizes the floor in the process. Top features of the Bissell 1940 Powerfresh mop include:
- Ability to kill 99.9 percent of bacteria and viruses without using harsh chemical cleaners
- Flip-down scrubber is ideal for tough dirt and grout, and
- Speeds the cleaning process compared with standard steam mops
- Steam is customizable for each job with digital low, medium and high settings
- Includes a small supply of Febreze fragrance discs for the mod pad that disseminate fresh fragrance while you mop
- Water tank located high on the handle for easy filling
Bissell recommends that you use demineralized or distilled water only to prevent sediment deposits and that you do not use cleaners in place of or in addition to the water. The power cord is just 23 feet long, so changing outlets frequently may be necessary. Excessive use of the high-steam setting might cause damage to tile grout and hardwood flooring. Be sure to dry any water left behind during cleaning.
The Bissell Powerfresh 1940 Blue steam mop weighs just 6.2lbs, and it is covered by a one-year limited warranty. The cost is $80-$110 from various retailers.
BEST HARD SURFACE CLEANERS FOR TILE FLOOR
Bissell Crosswave Pet Pro All in One Wet Dry Vacuum Cleaner and Mop, 2306A
The best – on our opinion – two-in-one wet dry vacuum mop currently on the market, the Bissell Crosswave Pet Pro has a slightly stronger suction action that the standard Crosswave model, and is very well designed to make it easy to use on a daily basis. You will save a lot of time if you need to regularly clean up after pets (or kids!). Here are the main features:
- Vacuums up light debris, washes and dries floor simultaneously
- Multi surface pet brush and pet hair strainer
- Suitable for sealed hard floor and some area rugs
- Pet cleaning solution included to eliminate odors
- Two tanks to keep clean water separate form dirty water
- 25-foot power cord
- Very lightweight at just 11.5 pounds
- Added nice touch – every sale results in a donation to the Bissell Pet Foundation for homeless pets
This is a good machine and scores highly with most consumers, but as with all wet dry vacuum mops, you cannot rely on the Bissell Crosswave as your sole vacuum cleaner. It is simply not designed for heavy duty or whole house vacuuming and you may find that the functions wear out or become overly clogged with debris if you use it as your main vacuum.
At the same time, it’s an OK alternative to a steam mop or a traditional mop and bucket – and is an really good choice if you only have tile in a small part of your home (like the kitchen for example.)
Finally, whilst it is advertised as being able to successfully deep clean rugs, our experience was a bit hit and miss and really depended on what kind of rug you have (it wasn’t so great on long fibered, textured rugs).
The Bissell Crosswave Pet Pro retails at the top end for this type of machine, at $300.
Hoover FloorMate Deluxe FH40160PC Hard Floor Cleaner Review
The Hoover FloorMate Deluxe Hard Floor Cleaner is good addition to your current vacuum, providing a light-weight machine that will deep clean and dry any sealed hard flooring surface, such as tile, stone or wood. Its CleanSurge® Control technology allows you to add extra detergent for stains and heavily soiled areas, and is a helpful addition. The low cost is attractive too, but keep in mind that it does not have a vacuum function – this machine has three functions: sending water and detergent onto your floor, scrubbing them with the brushes, and then sucking up the dirty water to dry the floor.
The features of the FloorMate FH40160PC include:
- Washing and drying tile and other hard floors
- 360° counter-rotating brushes for deep cleaning
- Brushes for both tile and wood flooring included
- 20-foot power cord
- Brushes that can be removed for easy cleaning
- Separate clean and dirty water tanks, so only clean water is applied to flooring
- Fairly lightweight at just under 14 pounds
- Some packages include specific cleaning solutions for pets and tile grout.
This machine is very good at what it does, but the main negative is that it does not have a basic vacuum function: you have to have vacuumed debris off the floor first. The use his machine to send water and detergent onto your floor, then scrub the floor with the brushes, and then suck up the dirty water to dry the floor.
Another potential negative is that you have to physically switch brushes if you have both wood and tile floors; and because the brushes are slightly recessed (1/8 inch) within the brush attachment, you can get pretty close, but not right up against the baseboard or into corners.
Hoover doesn’t discourage using cleaner in this machine, but be sure the product you use is formulated for your flooring type. Distilled water will keep the Hoover FloorMate working optimally for longer.
The price of the Hoover FH40160PC varies widely from about $180 to less than $120. It’s a decent value at $130 or less.
Oreck Commercial ORB550MC Commercial Orbiter Review
If you want to step your floor cleaning routine up a level with a powerful tool aimed for commercial use, then the Oreck Commercial Orbiter Floor Machine is for you! After vacuuming your floor, spray with the correct detergent, polish or wax, choose the correct pad or brush for your Oreck ORB550MC, and let the machine glide over the floor doing all the hard work of scrubbing, polishing and buffing for you effortlessly. It is so easy to use that you can even operate it with one hand! Here are the main features:
- Versatile commercial grade polishing tool for tile, wood, stone, vinyl, cement or carpet flooring
- Cleans, scrubs, polishes, buffs, strips, waxes, sands and refinishes depending on which pad or brush you use
- Oscillating motion glides over surfaces effortlessly
- No torque, gouging, brush marks or swirling
- Incorporated hooks on the stem for storing the power cord
- 50-foot power cord allows you to get round your whole house
- Fairly compact design
- Brushes and pads NOT included
The main take away regarding the Oreck Commercial Orbiter, is that it works really well! However it is not cheap – retailing at around $350 – and you have to buy the pads/ brushes separately which retail between $5 and $20 depending on type of pad/ brush; and depending on your flooring you may need more than one type of pad/ brush. On the plus side you can wash and reuse the pads.
We still think that the Oreck ORB550MC is excellent value, however, since you get a truly professional finish and for the range of uses it has (especially as you can use both for weekly polishing, but also for refinishing your tile, stone or hardwood flooring as recommended every 5 to 10 years). Plus it has a good track record for longevity, so it should last a long, long time.
Choosing the Best Tile Vacuum or Steam Mop
We hope you noticed that each of our reviews included the odd negative comment along with the positives. While we think the floor cleaning machines we’ve reviewed are among the best we encourage you to make a check list of features that are indispensable to your home floors and look for them when buying. These tips will also help you select a machine you’ll be happy with in the years to come.
- The more tile and other hard flooring you have, the more it makes sense to buy a high-quality floor vacuum or steam mop.
- The less storage space you have, the more you should consider a multi-function model
- If you have pets, consider a powerful hard floor vacuum to remove pet hair before cleaning
- If you have small children that play on your tile floor, a steam-sanitizing tile floor mop is a worthwhile investment
- HEPA filtration is a must where household members suffer from allergies
Browse your tile floor cleaning machine options in light of your needs, and you’ll find the best tool for keeping your home clean and comfortable.
Have we missed anything? Which model do you consider the best vacuum for tile floors? Let us know in the comments section below.